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A Portrait of Fallen Neighbors

By DeNeen L. Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page A01

Name, home town, age, assignment, base, date of death.

The Department of Defense reports give the facts on the 67 men and three women from Virginia, Maryland or the District who have died in the Iraq war since it began two years ago. What's missing from the reports is how they lived, what they dreamed, why they signed up, how they tried to comfort those at home. Seventy lives: an obituary.

Robert Arciola grieves for his son, Army Pfc. Michael Anthony Arciola of Elmsford, N.Y., who was killed in Iraq. Alexandra Kovach, the fiancee of Michael Arciola's brother, and Pfc. Oscar Olguin also attended the burial last week at Arlington National Cemetery. (Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post)

70 Lives: A Portrait of Fallen Neighbors

What to say to sum them up? How to answer someone asking: What was he like? What was she like? What did he do? Who was she?

Joshua Hurley liked to hunt and fish and believed in right, wrong -- and the truth, his family said. There was no gray.

If Kirk Bosselmann was going to do something, he figured he might as well do it 100 percent.

Dale Burger Jr. would pick his dad up from his wheelchair and carry him up the stairs. He loved his dad.

Kevin Shea had been nominated for a Bronze Star with Valor, but he never told his family.

Karl Linn posted photos of guns, helicopters and the Euphrates River on his Web site. One picture was labeled "Little old me with the Kalashnikov."

Javier Obleas-Prado Pena was awarded 26 medals and honors during 18 years in the Marines. He was "approaching retirement very quickly," a Marine official said.

His nickname was Ski, and Nicholas Ziolkowski prided himself on being good at his job. He could sit for hours on a rooftop looking through his scope, waiting for the enemy to enter the lens. On that roof, you would not have known that his passion was surfing.

Cornell Gilmore was married for 21 years. A family man. Loved gospel music and baseball. He was always punctual and was famous for his salutations: "Come on, team!" "I got you covered!" "Go forth and have a nice day!"

Andrew Tuazon took bad sides of no one, one of his friends told the Daily Press of Newport News. Never saw him upset or depressed. Always with a friend, coming and going or on his cell phone. And whenever he came home on leave, he never missed church.

Bradley Arms was a student at the University of Georgia when his reserve unit shipped out. "He was an all-American kid," the headmaster of his old school said. A second-grade class at the independent Christian school had adopted Bradley. When they heard the news, the students took it hard.

His nickname was Salty. When William Watkins III was in high school, he played the role of Pharaoh in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." He could do an Elvis Presley impersonation that brought down the house.

Thomas Doerflinger, who wrote poetry, gave his best friend a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's autobiography, "Living to Tell the Tale." Said he would have to give her the rest of the trilogy when he came back.

"That's my baby boy," Darryl Dent's father said. "He was a good kid." Darryl had a deep baritone that made him sound like a wise, old man. He was voted king of the Junior ROTC for the homecoming parade.

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